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5 Tips To Make Juggling Holiday Time With Family Easier

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Traditions, schedules, travel, and family relationships all get mixed up together as the holiday season unfold. Some couples can get stressed-out by the mere logistics of Christmas and the challenge of finding ways to celebrate with multiple sets of grandparents and extended families.

  1. Talk ahead of time with your spouse to figure out what you’re both seeking when it comes to being with your families.

The key here is talking as a couple before starting a discussion with other family members. Then, when you present your desires and plans, you work together as a united team.

  1. Don’t Commit Right Away

If parents start calling now to ask if you’ll be at Christmas or other holiday events, don’t give an immediate answer. Use this smart stall tactic: “I have to talk with (spouse) so that we can make a plan that works best for everyone.” It’s not okay to say “yes” to the first family that calls, then tell the second family—who doesn’t start planning Christmas in November—that they missed the boat. That sets up a competition that stresses out parents, hurts their ability to blend in with the other side of the family (if they see them as trying to ‘steal you’ for holidays), and sets a precedent that’s really hard to break.

  1. Ask your parents about how they split the holidays when they first got married.

If their parents lived in different states, did they take turns visiting different families? Did they host? Getting input from the parents gives you a lot of insight into their mindset. Maybe they hated having to drive around all through Christmas weekend and haven’t thought of that in years. It's also a gentle reminder of the dilemma you're facing. Most parents realize that when their kids get married, holidays have to be divided. Change isn't easy, but sometimes it's inevitable.

  1. Consider alternative holiday arrangements.

Ask family if they’re willing to celebrate on another day.  Perhaps a Christmas Eve service together is important to the wife's parents, while Christmas dinner is central to the husband's. Perhaps you could celebrate on New Year’s instead.

Agree to rotate each year. If families live far away, consider traveling to one family’s home one year and the other family’s home another year.

Once you make your decisions, call both sides as soon as possible. Assure the side you won't be celebrating with that you'll be with them for another upcoming holiday.

  1. Learn to say No.

Even though you may want to be at every single holiday gathering that family gives, it’s not worth stretching yourself too thin. If you are always checking your clock to see when you have to dash off to the next gathering, you miss out on quality time with those gathered around you in the present moment.

Despite your best efforts, things won’t always be fair for everyone involved in your holiday celebrations. Time will never be split equally. Work toward making your family happy. Do what's best for you, and do not be afraid to adjust. 

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